OPINION: Teachers lack proper training to use guns

CN/ Ivana Amaral

By Melisa Valenzuela

From educators and parents to school security organizations and law enforcement, they all agree that putting guns in the hands of teachers does more harm than good. 

 School shootings have become an epidemic in the United States, and some people seem to believe that the only real solution is to add more guns. 

Some states, such as Texas and Ohio, already allow school staff who have a concealed-carry permit to bring guns to school. 

However, a study by Everytown for Gun Safety suggest that putting more firearms in school increases the possibility that a troubled student could get their hands on the gun as well as the likelihood of an accidental shootings. 

Everytown is an organization made up of educators, moms and students that fight for common-sense reforms to reduce gun violence. 

They have been working with the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association to research why these shootings happen. They have even come up with an                                           evidence-based intervention plan to help prevent them.

Students accessing the guns, the increased risk of shootings and the liability risks that an armed teacher poses are some key findings from their research. 

Their research also mentions that law enforcement officers receive an average of 840 hours of basic training including 168 hours of training on weapons, self-defense and the use of force. 

At schools where guns are allowed, the teachers receive significantly less training and in some states, there is no minimum training required at all. 

Banning guns from schools might seem like a no-brainer, but the proposal to arm teachers is supported by influential people such as the United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, the National Rifle Association and  President Donald Trump.

DeVos believes that “districts have the flexibility to use federal funds to arm teachers.” The funds she talks about is money intended for academics and enrichment programs that would no doubt benefit the students more. 

After the Parkland, Florida massacre, Trump delivered a speech on school shootings where he said that we need to “harden” our schools, not “soften them up.” In later tweets, he also suggested a yearly bonus for faculty and staff who volunteer to use their guns at school. 

What schools really need is a plan that focuses on intervening before the violence occurs, like the one created by Everytown, the AFT and the NEA. 

Their plan is a multifaceted approach that includes                       evidence-based and expert-endorsed actions that schools can take to address the early warning signs. 

Some of the things suggested are addressing students’ health, establishing threat assessment programs to manage potential threats of violence, implementing basic security upgrades and planning in advance for emergencies. 

The plan also focuses on preventing shooters from getting their hands on guns by pushing for more sensible gun laws.   

Teachers take on more roles and responsibilities than people realize. Giving them a weapon would just add to their already stressful workload, and there is not any evidence that suggests that carrying a gun makes them and their students safer. 

Guns, unfortunately, have a place in society, but they should never have a place in our schools.

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